David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 39
September 24 to September 30, 2000 

Monday September 25

Another transition day with Brendan doing all the physical work and I paying over $10,000 worth of bills (yes it does take money to run a winery). Brendan and I decided that we can't harvest anymore fruit until our fermenters are finished. We have Pinot noir at 3% sugar and syrah at 7% ( we want 1% ), but the cab franc and p.s. have hardly started. We must free up fermenters in able to harvest and ferment our carignan, cab and the rest of our p.s. We are hoping by this weekend, we will have most of the fermenters free and thus with virtually no sugar left. 

We do have some cab from our bottom section fermenting in order to add our two barrels of slowly fermenting Block 4. The cab was still only at 70 degrees this morning (we would like it to get up to 85) so Brendan put these 3 low temperature fermenters out in the sun to warm them up. Late tonight I carefully moved them by fork lift (in the dark, with some wine in my belly) back to the winery. A little scary, but I made it. The temperature of the new wine had reached 80 so I will have Brendan transfer the wine tomorrow morning. I did move 40 gals tonight to acclimate the freshly fermenting wine to the alcohol of the stuck wine (13% alc). This will mean the wine will have about 10% alcohol, but still have about 7% sugar; enough to hopefully finish the fermentation to dryness. 

Wednesday September 27   94 high 44 low for the last few days

Even though it was 94 yesterday, the high in Dry Creek today was only 80 degrees. It is a lot easier to work in, and we really don't need anymore heat. We are pressing today and harvesting Thursday and Friday. 

We pressed today one bin of syrah and the pinot. I think I mentioned once before in my diary that we are considering blending in some syrah this year with our pinot. It has been rumored that sometimes that is actually done in Burgundy. Since I am a blender by heart, I think it is a great idea. The acid on the pinot this year was less and the acid on the syrah was more. They actually both came in about a ph of 3.6--good for winemaking. I can also consider adding a little barbera in January when we do our blending in case these barrels are low in acid after m/l. We will press our barbera tomorrow and expect it to be high in acid again. 

After doing some sugar tests, Brendan and I decided that we have a lot of fruit ready to harvest. Our petite sirah from the knoll (called P/K) is well over 24 brix. Our petite sirah (more traditional clone-called PS) is close to 25. Our Aca Cab is over 24 and our old vine carignan is over 25. Our cab franc and petite verdot must be harvested also. We will harvest the rest of our bottom cab and our new carignan in a week or so. 

It will be exciting by Friday to see how many tons we will harvest. By then I will have a better idea of how much wine we will make. I can also make a better decision on what wine we can sell again on futures. By the end of next week, I hope to put up again, on our web site, what we will offer for our 2000 vintage. 

The Cab from the bottom did heat up to over 80 degrees and I did add the Block 4 to it. We will be pressing it tomorrow, because again we were successful in completing the fermentation to dryness. We will also be pressing the Malbec/barbera. 

This has been a tough harvest, but they are all. I obviously can't tell all, not because I do not, but only because I don't have the energy or time. It is now 11:30 Pm and I have just finished adding a new starter fermentation to another slowly fermenting wine (3 of our syrah fermenters). We did press one of these fermenters, that had gone dry, along with the pinot. I was impressed with the spiciness. 

Thursday September 28   80 high 44 low

This day started off very depressing. Brendan informed me early that it was apparent that our Teldeschi zin was possibly stuck. This will make it 100% for September: all our zins have stuck. 

The day actually  started at 7:00Am when Caterino and his friends arrived to pick our carignan and p.s. About mid day he brought in the last of the harvest for the day. As usual, I received less than I had hoped for. 

Brendan and I pressed our malbec, second crop zin, and cab. This cab was from our bottom section and was used to restart the fermentation on our Block 4 At first we pressed our malbec and barbera fermentation. 

Saturday September 30   97 high 44 low last two days

The sun has come out again and the temperature has risen dramatically. The nights have remained cold until last night when we probably reached down to only 60. Today has started out very warm and I already have on the air conditioner. 

It has been so hectic this week I have hardly had time to think. In the last two days we have received 11.68 tons of fruit (enough to make about 750 cases). We have only had time to crush the carignan and hope to process the rest today. We have been pressing for two days and are pressing the cab franc today. We now have enough fermenters freed up to fill with the crushed fruit. 

Tomorrow is Sunday, but we plan on taking care of the Teldeschi Zin which has stuck. David Cooper came over yesterday for advice on his zin which is stuck over at Yoakim Bridge Winery. I have also heard that Lambert Bridge and Nalle are having problems also. I know I say we are normally closed on Football Sundays, but the Raiders are off and we have work to do. Yesterday I got a ton of cabernet from John Teldeschi and we will use it to restart his zin. We have been 100% successful with this method this year and past. We will get the cab very hot and then slowly add back the 70 degree stuck wine after it is pressed. 

I have made the decision to make a Neighbors' zin again. We now have enough fruit from Bernier, Lane and Teldeschi to make a very interesting wine. The resulting wine could have more complexity than my Estate--you never know. We will still be able to make about 750 cases of Estate Zin in order to satisfy all who have bought futures. Of course any order for wine that has been placed so far can be changed to either zin or wine we make. 

We received a little more fruit than we thought from our Aca Modot area yesterday which will enable us to sell about 50 more cases. We will not put it officially on our web site, but will make a note to call. The price will be $20. 

Tonight Sonoma County will announce the awards for the wines that were judged at the Harvest Fair in the last few days. Most of the winners of gold in the past have been pretty average, because they appeal to everyone. Pat laughed at me when I said I was hoping for two golds for my zin and cab franc even though I think they are young and certainty not ordinary. She does not like to dream, because she hates disappointment. I dream and hope a lot and like to take risks; so I am used to being let down. I don't like losing a competition, but it doesn't bother me that much. After all I can always dream again. 



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